How Toyota’s branding affects marketing of Prius models

Article by Anita Panait, on June 5, 2012

Toyota’s Prius family of cars is basically made up of four hybrid vehicles – Prius V, Prius Liftback, Prius Plug-in and Prius C. Automotive News editor Mark Rechtin took a closer look as to how these vehicles are designed and developed. He said that the Prius C is a real hybrid, the product of Toyota’s masterful branding scheme.

All four Priuses use Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, just like the Camry Hybrids and Highlander Hybrids. However, the Prius V is essentially a Prius Liftback – the original Prius -- having almost identical components but with a taller roofline. The Plug-In Prius, meanwhile, is powered by lithium ion batteries instead of nickel-metal hydride. The Plug-In Prius features a plug-in port but has the same sheet metal as the Prius Liftback.

The Prius C, however, only bears a little resemblance with the original Prius Liftback. In fact, the Prius C is built using a different platform, with the Yaris as a base. It also utilizes a different sheet metal. In addition, the Prius C is powered by a smaller base engine and sports a smaller battery pack. While the other Priuses uses a "joystick" gearshift toggle, the Prius C utilizes the traditional "PRNDL" layout.

Meanwhile, the Camry Hybrid is as similar to a Prius as the Prius C. Technically speaking, a Camry Hybrid could be dubbed as Prius Grande, and the Prius C as Yaris Hybrid. But since Toyota has a lax association with regards its vehicles, it could group the Prius C with the Prius family, making the vehicle line up more popular than it is really is.

In fact, Toyota sold a total of 21,477 Priuses in May 2012, with the Prius C accounting for 17 percent of the total sales. The Prius Liftback still leads, accounting for 61 percent of the total Prius sales r around 13,100 units. The Prius V accounted for 17 percent while the Prius Plug-In is credited with five percent.

Young customers who want to try the Prius Family would do well to go for the new Prius c. Considered as a gateway product to this range, they will easily find that this is the car for them with its stylish design and highly advanced and fuel efficient drivetrain. In addition, this subcompact car is equipped with a number of advanced technologies inside.

Overall, the Prius c not only offers exceptional maneuverability in urban areas but offers driving dynamics that are truly engaging. For this particular offering, Toyota will be making available a total of four trim levels. Each of them will have excellent equipment and features plus greater capability in order to deliver a car that has outstanding value for money. Standard features to be included inside, to name a few, are automatic climate control, climate, Multi-Information Display and Bluetooth hands-free controls, remote keyless entry with illuminated entry, and tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio.

In terms of scale, it is easy to see how distinct the Prius c is compared to the midsize Prius Liftback. It is shorter with an overall length of 157.3 inches against the Liftback which is at 176.4 inches, a difference of 19.1 inches.

The Prius c is lighter as well, having total weight of 2,500 lbs. versus the 3,042 lbs. of the Liftback. Further, since the platform of the Prius c is smaller, it meant that the Hybrid Synergy Drive needed to be modified. Thus, each component of this system was redesigned to achieve three things: scale, lower the weight, and enhance the efficiency.

Toyota revealed that once the 2012 Prius c is available at various authorized showrooms, expect that it will have the highest city fuel economy rating. As mentioned earlier, this newest hatchback from the brand will have a number of advanced features inside aimed at convenience. There is for example the USB port that allows for iPod connectivity and hands-free phone capability.

It also has the TFT full-color 3.5-inch multi-information display and the Display Audio system that comes with Entune and Navigation. According to the brand, the new Prius c has a MSRP of at most $19,000.

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